by Gabe Schlesinger, Staff Writer
To quote a popular saying, "Yaaaay, fencing. I get to stab people with
a pointy stick." Fencing is not just a reason to play with swords, it is
a sport. Sometimes called human chess. Team members include captain Dave Rigotti,
the only fourth year member, second year members, captain Kimberly Istok, Katie
Gibson, Justin Linton, Jackie Marlow, Steven Saracino, Ian Wilson, Emily Witte,
and first year members John Cechner, Marc Kruzer, Matthew Platek, John Vidziunas,
and Kyle Visner.
Fencing is a sport based on dexterity and hand-eye coordination. Duelists use a choice of one of three weapons: epee, saber, or foil. Our school fences foil. The foil itself has a thin, flexible blade with a square cross-section and a small bell guard. The foil evolved during the late 17th century as a practice weapon for the small sword. The word is derived from the French word refouler, meaning "to turn back." The foil is a thrusting weapon, so only the point of the foil may be used to score a touch. Foil's target area is much more restricted than the other weapons. It encompasses the chest, groin, and back area. Because of this, a foil fencer has a different 'distance' (meaning the distance between opponents) than the other weapons. When one fences foil, he must obey a rule called “right of way." This means that one can only score when he is attacking. If one's weapon is parried, or turned away with the sword, then the fencer must regain right of way in order to attack and score. The referee keeps track of who has the attack and what actions are occurring.
The epee evolved in 19th century Europe as the premiere dueling weapon, replacing its predecessor, the small sword. Epee is the French word for sword. In Epee, the first person to hit is awarded the touch, regardless of priority. The sport of epee fencing was developed to mirror the conditions of an actual duel, in that the object of the encounter was to score "first blood."
The epee is a thrusting weapon only, so touches must be scored with the point.
Sabers have a light, flat blade and a knuckle guard. They are descended from naval and cavalry swords of the late 19th century. But modern saber fencing has developed into a lightning fast game of cuts, stop-cuts (counter-attacks that hit; also a counter-attack, usually to the cuff), and parries that would be impossible to achieve with historical sabers. It is a slashing or thrusting weapon, so touches can be scored with either the point or the edge of the blade. Saber's target area is not as restricted as foil but more restricted than epee. It encompasses everything from the waist up. Saberists, like foilists, must adhere to the right-of-way rules. In addition, the correct timing of actions is often considered more difficult in saber than in the other weapons.
Said John Cechner, “Fencing is awesome. But I think we should have more ‘open fencing’ practice. It gives us more experience on the strip.” The strip is what the dueling area is called. Our team practices hard to reach peak performance. May they go far this year!